We can all agree that we want to live longer and healthier lives. Her are a few simple tips to help you lead a longer and healthier lifestyle. So, let’s get going …
I recently found this book on eating healthier and realized that my eating habits were awful. As a result, am trying to eat more “real food”. The motto is if you can’t plant, pick, pluck, or kill it then don’t eat it. The biggest non-no is eating anything that comes in a package or pre-made. I can say that my cravings for junk food have diminished greatly.
Now, if I want something sweet, I reach for fruit rather than cookies. If I want chocolate, I reach for cocoa rather than milk chocolate. If cocoa is too bitter for you, eat regular dark chocolate. I have also given up sweet tea (that is so hard for a southern girl!) and soft drinks. I replaced those drinks with water and now I find myself craving water. If you haven’t already made the switch, try eating only “real foods.” It might be hard to begin with but stick with it. It is worth it!
Spending time with people you love is fun, but it also has a huge impact on your health and longevity. Interactions with others keep us stimulated, feeling loved, and fights off depression. All these lend to being healthier and adds years to our lives. Brigham Young University conducted a study, and found that people who are socially active live 50% longer than those who are isolated. That’s a significant result! So be social! Mingle and spend time with loved ones, whether it is family or friends.
(Editor’s Note: With the impact of Covid 19, spending time with others has been difficult, particularly if you are at risk due to age or health issues. Do make time to be with family or a very small group of people. If neither are possible, participating in Zoom or Facetime calls regularly can help greatly with your need for social interaction.)
Did you know that only 1 out of 4 individuals gets the right amount of sleep? Yikes! That is not a good ratio. The ideal number of hours is 8, but this may not be how much your body requires. It is important to figure out that magical number to keep you alert, and productive. Missing sleep messes up more than just your mood. It can have negative effects on your heart, blood sugar, digestion, and mental capacity.
I recently found out just how much lack of sleep can impact your body. This past May, I experienced a hormonally induced migraine. It was so severe that I had side effects that mimicked a stroke. My doctor immediately sent me to the ER. There a CAT scan was done but proved to be inconclusive. A week later I still had numbness in my left arm and both feet, so I was sent for an MRI. Again it was inconclusive.
My doctor finally sent me to a neurologist who ruled out a stroke but wanted to explore my sleeping patterns. I admitted that I hadn’t slept through the night in almost two years. The neurologist felt that due to lack of sleep my body was reacting by holding onto the migraine. He felt that if I had a better sleeping pattern the migraine would go away, and the numbness would follow. He prescribed a sleeping pill which I reluctantly began taking. Within a month I was sleeping through the night, and the migraine along with the numbness disappeared. If you are experiencing a loss of sleep, do not convince yourself that it’s a part of getting older. Talk to your doctor about ways to get better sleep. I promise it makes a world of a difference!
Ever heard of ecotherapy? I certainly hadn’t until a couple of weeks ago. For those of you who do not know what ecotherapy is, it’s a fancy word for going outside. The formal definition is “a type of therapeutic treatment which involves doing outdoor activities in nature.” One of the most important results of going outside is that we get vitamin D. The right amount of vitamin D can help lead to improved bone health, blood pressure, and mild depression.
Getting outdoors helps us relax and allows us to breathe more deeply. This allows for more oxygen intake which can help us feel more present. Color and sounds also play a part. The various colors and sounds of nature stimulate our brain which improves brain function. Go out and explore!
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